Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) Sample Questions: Grade 8 English Language Arts (ELA)

The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment system, commonly abbreviated as MCAS is Massachusetts’s statewide standards-based assessment program. The students will face a variety of new technology-enhanced questions as a part of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System.

Some of them are Multiple choice-single correct responses, Multiple choice-multiple correct responses, Matching Tables, Drag and Drop, Hot text, Table Fill in, Graphing, Equation/numeric, Extended constructed response, Short answer, and many more.

Today, we will share several sample questions along with practice test links for Grade 8 English Language Arts (ELA) that gives you an idea of questions that your students are likely to see on the test. After each sample question, an explanation follows that includes any important aspects of the task that you may need to consider with respect to the skills, processes, and information your students need to know.

MCAS Sample Questions: Grade 8 English Language Arts(ELA) Sample Questions & Answers

Domain: Grade 8 >> Reading Standards for Literature
Sample Question:

What is the theme of a piece of literature?

A. the series of events in a story
B. what the story is about
C. the message that the author is trying to convey
D. the way the characters develop in the story
Answer: C
Answer Explanation:
Answer choice C is correct. Answer choice A is incorrect. The series of events in a story is called the plot. Answer B is incorrect. Answer D is incorrect. The way characters develop in a story is called characterization.
Practice Resources: Reading: Literature (RL.8.2)
Click here to practice: Reading Standards for Literature – Theme Grade 8 English Language Arts(ELA)

Domain: Grade 8 >> Reading Standards for Informational Text
Sample Question:

The central idea is:
A. the idea stated in the topic sentence
B. the theme of a piece of literature
C. who a piece of informational text is mainly about
D. the main idea of a piece of informational text
Answer: D
Answer Explanation:
Answer choice D is correct. The central idea is the main idea in a piece of informational text. Answer choice A is incorrect because the central idea may not be easily located in the topic sentence. Answer choice B is incorrect because a central idea is located in informational text rather than literature which is generally fiction. Answer choices C is incorrect because an informational piece may not be about a person.
Practice Resources: Reading: Informational Text (RI.8.2)
Click here to practice: Reading Standards for Informational Text – Central Ideas Grade 8 English Language Arts(ELA)

Domain: Grade 8 >> Writing Standards
Sample Question:

Which of the following is the best example of an introductory sentence?
A. Some people prefer fishing in the ocean to fishing in lakes and rivers.
B. Do you believe in ghosts?
C. Most healthy people exercise everyday.
D. All of the above
Answer: B
Answer Explanation:
Answer choice B is correct. Answer choices A and C are examples of supporting details.
Practice Resources: Writing (W.8.1)
Click here to practice: Writing Standards – Introducing and Closing Topics Grade 8 English Language Arts(ELA)

Domain: Grade 8 >> Language Standards
Sample Question:

An adverb is:
A. a word that modifies (describes) adjectives
B. a word that modifies (describes) verbs
C. a word that modifies (describes) adverbs
D. all of the above
Answer: D
Answer Explanation:
Answer choice D is correct. An adverb can modify an adjective, verb, or another adverb in a sentence.
Practice Resources: Language (L.8.1)
Click here to practice: Language Standards – Adjectives and Adverbs Grade 8 English Language Arts(ELA)

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Jaci Smith